Thursday, January 31, 2013
I made this photo book to give to my fiance on Valentine's Day. Finally, all those pictures I took will be put to good use!! I promise I'm working on the second half of said blog post, full of photos and exciting things.
Additionally, if you have NO IDEA what to give to your significant other for Valentine's Day, you should try to scoop up a Groupon or deal for one of these photo books. Cost-efficient, thoughtful, and sentimental. Plus, it's fun to personalize!
Monday, January 28, 2013
Part of it has to do with something I realized over this past weekend when we were back for my friend's wedding: my fiance and I are living two very full and complete lives. We quickly built a new social circle, routines, and a home here in Chicago. This somehow did not discount the life we left behind--on pause--in San Diego. That's the thing about San Diego. We go back and it's like we never left; all of our friends are there from high school (usually back for the same holiday or event we are there for), so it feels just like home again. We have a full group of friends at home, and a full life here as well. Instead of whining about how I never see this person or that enough, I really should be utterly thankful.
So here it is: I am grateful that my biggest complaint (aside from the cold) is that I don't get enough time with either my friends here in Chicago or my friends back home in California. I'm grateful that I have two full lives to live in different parts of the country, and when I'm back in either place, it feels right. I'm grateful to have the relationships I do and the comfortable, happy life I am leading. I do know that this time in Chicago is not permanent, so I'm happy to savor it now.
Friday, January 25, 2013
Today I had my first snowy day with snowfall collected on the ground!! I learned a lot of valuable lessons.
-that brown stuff in the road? It's not gravel, and they didn't just plow the roads really well. That's very dirty snow.
-snow is pretty! But even in snow boots, if it's packed and frozen, it is SLIPPERY.
-They salt the sidewalks some places, so you have to be careful walking the dog (it can hurt their paws). Also, it can ruin your shoes according to the locals (leather and suede ones, supposedly). This WILL save you from slipping and cracking your skull open.
-Wear material that isn't knit as your outerwear. The snowflakes stick to my knit panda hat and I have to shake off like a dog before stepping inside.
This weekend I'm back in San Diego for a whirlwind trip! My good friend from high school is getting married, so we'll get a brief respite from the cold.
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Here is my first experience of freshly fallen snow on the ground!! I'll post more later on what below zero feels like, but for now just imagine a fully grown woman scooping up snow from planters on the side of the road and throwing handfuls at her friends. Then picture this same adult carrying pictured snowball up an elevator ride to throw said snowball at her fiance, warmly tucked away in their apartment. Stay joyful, friends.
Friday, January 18, 2013
|Photo from Hobbiton Tours...which...can I go??|
I will admit that my eyes were shining at that first glimpse of the Shire at the beginning of the movie, which I know makes me sound silly and nerdy but for some reason seeing it on screen feels a little like coming home. No? You don't feel like the Shire is your home? I don't in the real sense (that would make me rather deluded), but I get that same surge of warmth in my heart that I feel when I see the San Diego skyline from an airplane. It's amazing that the book gives me this feeling--that my imaginings of it were so vivid that it feels like home.
I think it's because I fall for books hard--I get lost in them for hours or days at a time and coming back to the real world almost hurts. It's fairly challenging for any piece of fiction, but I am a fan of fantasy books. This makes it even harder, as you're stuck in the real world rather than some imagined land that a brilliant author dreamed up (Ursula LeGuin, anyone?).
Does anybody else get this way when they read a good book?
Thursday, January 17, 2013
|A view from the park by our place--looking across the lake|
These blogs also remind me to not get too caught up in the day to day. During our first couple months here, I remained unemployed for a while just settling into the new city, getting our apartment together, and job hunting. During these weeks, I walked around the city and really took advantage of living downtown. Then I got a full-time job again, and between running around all day in the classroom and outside with the children, I just got too tired to do small things, even run errands (this is the epitome of lazy, as the grocery store is across the street from my apartment building).
These bloggers, on the other hand, truly take advantage of living in Paris, exploring the city, and making little shops their own. I love the idea of being able to say that a particular bakery is "my" bakery, when certain stores have personal meaning. These blogs inspire me to continue my adventures in this new city, find new places to call my own, and above all, use the breadmaker I got for Christmas--because fresh bread looks so beautiful in all their photos and I heart carbs.
|Michigan Ave. during the holidays|
|A colonnade in Grant Park|
Monday, January 14, 2013
|Eddie Bauer Northern Aurora Down Jacket in Capri Blue, with my Modcloth owl mittens (gift)|
-J. Crew Factory belted puffer coat: I was really opposed to wearing these because I think they look like a black version of the Michelin man, but I see why they are necessary now! The only part of my body that gets cold when I wear this coat is between my boots and my coat...and I have legwarmers now to remedy that.
-CK belted puffer coat: looks similar to above but has fur around the hood. My mom gave this to me for Christmas!
-a bunch of California winter coats (read: not thickly lined, with varying wool weights). Okay, I'll be honest, some of these are cotton. I don't wear those ones much, though...
-long underwear (I don't wear these too often yet, but I have both Cuddl Duds and REI brand. I wore the Cuddl Duds under thick leggings and had no issues getting the layers on or off because they are silk, and they didn't slip and slide around under my clothes)
-down vest that folds up really small into a bag that it comes with (used frequently)
|Available on Amazon (men's and women's are exactly the same, except women's come in different girly colors)|
-180 earmuffs (that's the brand), which go behind your ears like those erstwhile popular Sony headphones. These are most useful for when I wear glasses or don't feel like wearing a hat (because it seriously feels like your ears will fall off when you're walking around in the cold for extended periods of time)
-a variety of
- hats: knit hats for everyday, a Goorin Bros. wool hat (I wore this last night in the rain and stayed so dry! Only issue is my ears get a little cold, but I could easily put a beanie on under it to fix this), and a variety of warmer hats (including a Russian or Fargo hat for painfully cold days, a knit hat that looks like a deer's face for when I'm sad about the cold)
- gloves: leather gloves for fall, North Face gloves for playing in the snow/serious winter (they were around $50 retail at the North Face store on Michigan Ave.), knit gloves with cute patterns for slightly warmer weather or when I know I'll tuck my hands into my pockets often
When we first moved here in August, I went to Nordstrom Rack and bought the down vest. It was seriously the best purchase I've made thus far. It meant I could wear all my existing coats, and added warmth without too much bulk. Best of all, since I was crazy paranoid about freezing to death, I could tuck it (in its convenient bag) into every purse I carried and not have to worry about the temperature dropping too far at night and getting cold! I seriously carried it from the end of August (started getting cold) til I started wearing it every day or using my down coats. That's how nervous this California girl felt about her first real winter.
Anyway, here is the breakdown of my outerwear by temperature:
- 40-49 degrees: California winter coat, scarf, maybe thin gloves if I'm walking far.
- 30-39 degrees: down vest under California winter coat, gloves, earmuffs or hat. Closer to 30 and I'll probably bring a scarf along just in case.
- 20-29 degrees: Luckily, my Eddie Bauer coat told me exactly what temperature at which to wear it! I'll pick one of the below:
- Eddie Bauer down coat by itself (sometimes I'll sweat in this, though). Definitely earmuffs or hat, unless I put my hood on. Leather gloves at the lightest (closer to 20 degrees, I'd put on my North Face gloves...or if I think there's a potential to play in the snow!!)
- sweater, down vest, California winter coat. The issue with the down vest is that it doesn't have sleeves, so my arms sometimes get cold when those Chicago winds blow up loose sleeves. Thus, you have to wear a cardigan or sweater under the vest! +scarf, hat or earmuffs, and North Face gloves (since the coat itself isn't as warm, I make sure my extremities are).
- 10-18 degrees: this is damn cold. These are the days I walk outside and mutter an expletive to myself, then pull my hood on and trudge to work, watching for ice.
- Eddie Bauer down coat, high boots (very cold legs otherwise!), legwarmers or long underwear (if I'm walking far). Scarf, hat, North Face gloves.
- Either puffy coat, scarf, hat, any gloves (these long coats keep most of my body warm and I can tuck my hands into the fleece-lined pockets!)
- 10 degrees or below: No. Don't go outside. That's not normal. Okay, maybe I haven't experienced this too much yet (ignoring windchill). I haven't yet felt the need to wear my down vest under my down coats, so I think so far I'm okay...and the coldest it has hit when I was outside was -8, I believe.
Saturday, January 12, 2013
I should start by saying that I'm not the type of girl who had a wedding binder growing up. Sure, I know my general preferences (a shade of purple for the bridesmaids), but no extreme details (like what the centerpiece should look like and where to buy those little gems or the floating candles). Then the magical website called Pinterest came along, and lo and behold, EVERYTHING beautiful and wonderful is just one click away from inspiring you. But wait--I wasn't engaged yet. I also didn't want to be creepy, online friends. I was biding my time, clicking "Like" for all the pretty wedding pins, until I was engaged. THEN I made my crazy wedding board and pinned oh, 200 images or so in a short span of time. Anyway, that's the extent of the wedding planning I did to this point.
Then I found The Knot app on the iPad. Um, this is like Pinterest, but all weddings, and all the time. I skimmed over venues and looked at the fun details (see: dress, bridesmaid gifts), but mostly just messed around. More recently (as time tends to pass when you're not paying attention), I've started looking at venues more seriously as the impending year 2015 is looming. I even made a Google Drive spreadsheet laying out the venues I like and important details (like how much open bar costs) about each one.
Then my fiance sent me this: http://www.google.com/weddings/plan.html#docs
Gee, I feel pretty dumb. Of course Google already had something convenient for me to use for EVERY ASPECT OF MY WEDDING. Well, I'll leave the less fun spreadsheets (see: Budget, Guest List) for later and focus on the fun ones (see: Music List).
For you, fellow planners. In case you haven't done all that work yet. Oh, and remind me to tell you about my dress later, if you are curious. Because that's one thing I did 2.5 years ahead of the event--bought a dress.
Thursday, January 10, 2013
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Sunday, January 6, 2013
Anyway, I'm not from here. I'm a born and raised California girl at heart, and when the Beach Boys sing that song, I puff out my chest and smile proudly, then do a little dance that can only be done to catchy Beach Boys songs. Thus, when my now fiance told me the news that it was Chicago or bust (rather than UCLA, our mutual alma mater but unfortunately not as high in the business school rankings as U of Chicago), I sighed, packed up all of my things, and said farewell to California.
[This will be a two-part post because frankly, I don't know how interested you'll be in reading all of it at once, and my OCD nature prevents me from leaving things unfinished...thus, for you fellow people who feel the need to read it all, I'll break it up.]
I should clarify: my then boyfriend (now fiance) and I lived in different cities for the entirety of our relationship. I'll tell you our love story in a bit, but suffice it to say, coordinating moving his stuff and then my stuff across the country...not an easy logistical task.
Most of our things were packed up in a Pod (they are these boxes you pack yourself and other people drive them across the country for you...it was the cheapest option we could find); first his things, then mine a few weeks later. The rest went into my Corolla, with Professor X (my wonderful dwarf hamster) strapped into the middle seat (literally), and nestled in between two dining room chairs. Yes, we drove two full-size chairs across the country in my backseat. I crafted a sunshade for the fine Professor, as obviously a hamster should not be sitting in the sun all day. After a few tearful goodbyes (on my end), we were off!
The first leg of our trip was from San Diego to Sedona, AZ. Have you ever been there? It's lovely red rock country. I've never seen land like that before...California gets rocky sometimes, but doesn't have that brilliant ochre contrasted against the blue sky. It was unbelievable. It was basically a one road town with a lane in each direction, and one long, curving road that took us through all the pretty scenery. We stayed at some little hotel (with Professor X comfortably on the dresser) and reveled in finally being in the same city.
Plus, here is a wonderful venue to post pictures of our dog, Arwen! I'm not sure how long this blogging thing will last or if such a public venue will suit me, but sometimes public journals are engaging enough to succeed, right? Well, we'll see.